Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Brazilian Citizen Philosophers and Bacon (Canadian, not Francis?!)

Boston Review — Carlos Fraenkel: Citizen Philosophers


The Brazilian Socrates (RIP)


“Learning how to read and write and basic mathematics is useful,” one student said. “But why should I care about Plato’s concept of the soul?” 
I conceded to the class that learning philosophy for the sake of erudition may not be the best use of their time. 
“But if you want to build a just and democratic society, isn’t it useful to get as clear as possible on what you mean by justice and democracy and to examine if you have good reasons to pursue these?” I asked. “And aren’t your intuitions about knowledge, goodness and beauty worth investigating?” 
Well, perhaps. But first the students had more questions for me. Is it true that Canadian bacon is the best in the world?
I argued a while back that a citizenry with a well-rounded education, including philosophy, would not accept the ignorant bullshit the Tea Partiers here lap up and regurgitate. Brazil, it turns out, may be the experiment that proves me right. Or, proves me hopelessly optimistic.


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